I guess you could say that Indiana Deputy Attorney General Jeff Cox used social media, got some attention and had a bitterTweet experience:
The Indiana Attorney General’s office announced Wednesday afternoon its deputy attorney general is no longer employed by the agency, after reviewing political website Mother Jones’ published allegations that he advocated the use of force against protesters in Wisconsin.
According to the online article , Jeff Cox tweeted “Use Live Ammunition” in response to a Mother Jones tweet reporting riot police had been called into the state capital to remove protesters.
Mother Jones later learned Jeff Cox held a post as an Indiana official.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the Attorney General office said, “Civility and courtesy toward all members of the public are very important to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. We respect individuals’ First Amendment right to express their personal views on private online forums, but as public servants we are held by the public to a higher standard, and we should strive for civility.”
In an earlier statement released Wednesday, the agency said, “The Indiana Attorney General’s Office does not condone the inflammatory statements asserted in the “Mother Jones” article and we do not condone any comments that would threaten or imply violence or intimidation toward anyone.”
Here’s the lede from the Mother Jones piece:
On Saturday night, when Mother Jones staffers tweeted a report that riot police might soon sweep demonstrators out of the Wisconsin capitol building—something that didn’t end up happening—one Twitter user sent out a chilling public response: “Use live ammunition.”
From my own Twitter account, I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were “political enemies” and “thugs” who were “physically threatening legally elected officials.” In response to such behavior, he said, “You’re damned right I advocate deadly force.” He later called me a “typical leftist,” adding, “liberals hate police.”
Only later did we realize that JCCentCom was a deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana.
This again points out how American political “debate” has gotten where it now is shifting from demonization to ostensible calls for violence, official or otherwise.
The Tweets also show something anyone who has read a blog or written a blog or heard left or right talk radio sees: people will label all “liberals” as such and such or all “conservatives” as such and such. It’s an attempt to negatively define. But American politics is increasingly jumping the shark from just hurling words for political gain to be infused with enormous passions where people feel they have a vested interest in their political sports team winning. It’s less about policy now…it’s about who gets the power and who can obliterate the other. Someone in a position of power suggesting it was time to do at a union demonstration what happened at Kent State in the 60s raises eyebrows — and concerns. But it is indicative of a growing mindset among some where you no longer simply oppose someone with your heart and soul or but you must hate, detest and possibly talk about obliterating them.
How many years ago was it when Gabby Giffords was shot?
A month ago?
Why, it seems like only yesterday.
And feels like tomorrow.
UPDATE: And lest you think that this kind of mindset exists only on one side, think again:
A Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts is raising the stakes in the nation’s fight over the future of public employee unions, saying emails aren’t enough to show support and that it is time to “get a little bloody.”
“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members. …
This is not Capuano’s first brush with violent rhetoric. Last month Capuano said, “Politicians, I think are too bland today. I don’t know what they believe in. Nothing wrong with throwing a coffee cup at someone if you’re doing it for human rights.”
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.